Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Vindicating methodological triangulation

Bright, Liam Kofi, Heesen, Remco and Zucker, Andrew (2016) Vindicating methodological triangulation. Synthese. ISSN 0039-7857

Text - Published Version
Download (446kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1007/s11229-016-1294-7


Social scientists use many different methods, and there are often substantial disagreements about which method is appropriate for a given research question. In response to this uncertainty about the relative merits of different methods, W. E. B. Du Bois advocated for and applied “methodological triangulation”. This is to use multiple methods simultaneously in the belief that, where one is uncertain about the reliability of any given method, if multiple methods yield the same answer that answer is confirmed more strongly than it could have been by any single method. Against this, methodological purists believe that one should choose a single appropriate method and stick with it. Using tools from voting theory, we show Du Boisian methodological triangulation to be more likely to yield the correct answer than purism, assuming the scientist is subject to some degree of diffidence about the relative merits of the various methods. This holds even when in fact only one of the methods is appropriate for the given research question.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2016
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2018 11:34
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2024 04:57
Projects: SES 1254291
Funders: National Science Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Isaac Newton Trust

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics